All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock says he will be doing everything he can during quarantine to prepare himself for a shot at playing in the second Rugby Championship Test against South Africa.
Whitelock will be the first of the All Blacks players on paternity leave to return to camp in Australia and expects to complete his quarantine on the day of the first Test against the Springboks on 25 September.
He flies to Brisbane on Friday to go into two weeks quarantine and will complete that on the day of the first Test against South Africa.
Using the preparation boxers put in by achieving fitness without having to do long runs, he is aiming to be close to 100% and ready to go when joining the team.
“I’ve always loved playing against them [the Springboks] because it’s so hard,” Whitelock said. “They’re big, they’re strong, they’re physical. They get their best ball-carriers, and they’re going to run at you from 20 metres away. They don’t care if you’re in the way, they’re there for that physical battle.
“Whether they run at you or they change and use their feet late, I think that’s one of the reasons for us as Kiwis we love to play against the old foe. It’s going to be pretty hard watching that 100th Test match [when I’m] almost out. How I deal with that is going to be really interesting to see how I set up myself for when I do get out. Hopefully it sets me up to perform,” he added.
Whitelock was impressed with the All Blacks’ 38-21 win over Australia in Perth and the performances of fellow locks Brodie Retallick, Scott Barrett and Tupou Vaa’i. He said he wasn’t a good spectator, and realised he missed being involved and was keen to get to Australia.
“I thought the guys reacted well to a few curve balls thrown at them, a couple of head knocks, a red card. I was happy the boys stayed nice and calm, and you could see they were working things out as they were going.
“It’s really nice when you see the team perform without you but, at the same time, you want to be out there helping them perform,” he said.
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